Let There Be a Kitchen!

I’m not a huge baker. We’re not foodies or even coffee drinkers. But we do love fellowship and meal times – the gathering much more than the preparing of what is being gathered over.  And so as we poured over our house floor-plan, and looked at how to reconfigure the space to flow better and to fit our lives better – the kitchen was not at the top of our priority list. I hated the existing kitchen. You entered the house into it, and there was this odd, narrow, up-and-down hallway to the rest of the living space that meant you had to walk through the kitchen as if it were a galley kitchen, with the stove-top oven at the point of turning into the hallway. It felt unsafe as well as just awkward.

We both loved the idea of using the old kitchen space as a dining room instead. It gave us lots of room to gather and hang out over a meal and was a much nicer entrance into our home. We played with squeezing the kitchen into several possible middle-of-the-house scenarios, to keep it near the plumbing. Our plan A would end up a legit galley kitchen in the improved hallway between the dining room (old kitchen) and living room. This plan gave us a great big rectangle space for an amazing bathroom, expanding on an existing bathroom. As I played around with the bathroom layout, it was just not working. Sometimes spacious is not always a good thing. It also had to have the door right at the end of one wall, not in the middle of any, and this was proving difficult in bathroom design too. And that door was directly off the end of our little kitchen, much too close for comfort. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Plan A also included keeping an existing tiny bathroom, but converting it to a half-bath and laundry/utility room. It felt like a waste of space. We kept staring at that darn floor-plan, discussing, “What ifs…” After an especially stressful afternoon of wracking my brain over it, I put it all away, dove into something else, took a long shower, tried to just not think about it for a bit. And suddenly, bam! Our beloved Plan B was born.

Plan B has us taking out a doorway-wide part of the old original wall, something we’d been avoiding touching. But it opens up a great space for a long, narrow bathroom with two windows and basically two ‘rooms’ – the first part housing the toilet and double sink vanities, and the 2nd part a walk-in shower and huge double bathtub. The best part is the door is now off the entry-way, closer to our bedroom and not off the kitchen! The rest of Plan B lets us convert the old bathroom plus half of the new space gained by enclosing the old furnace room (other half houses our shower & tub) into a small, but perfectly adequate little kitchen.

I didn’t want a huge kitchen, and I’m so in love with our little U-shaped kitchen, open to the hallway. And on the other side of the hallway, still sort of ‘part’ of the kitchen will be a wall of utility/laundry/ and even oven space. Instead of a galley in the hallway using the same wood floors as the rest of the living space, our little kitchen will get its own tile floors that we’re also going to install a cool heating element under (also in the bathroom!). There will also be a few sections of wall that we’ll get to paint a separate color – our kitchen gets a theme that won’t need to blend in perfectly with the rest of the house. Not gonna go all crazy, but we’re pretty into retro and vintage stuff – and so our kitchen is getting some retro-love, a bit more fun and colorful than the rest of our living space.

I was raised with the concept of colors and themes for different rooms, and since I got married my kitchen has been dark green (ivy!) and white, with some splashes of yellow. We just had our 26th wedding anniversary, so that’s 26 years’ worth of dark green kitchen accessories, some special ones that I’ve managed to drag back and forth across the ocean a few times too (linens are light and handy to use as wrapping for fragile items!). So I’m taking this opportunity to make a fairly significant life-change. 🙂  Think mid-Century, 50’s Diner-type colors: turquoise, mint, pastel yellow and blue, occasional pops of red; including the item I’m most excited about – a retro-inspired refrigerator. In pink! Ikea is the best option here for kitchens, and I’ve had my sink and cabinets picked out for years.  Wood counters sort of like butcher-block. And a backsplash of subway tiles in a V-shape in a really unique green that is sort of halfway between sage, turquoise and emerald. The walls will be a soft buttery yellow. We have a few fun, beloved items (including my vintage yellow Pyrex mixing bowl) that are going to fit it perfectly. And then it’s the perfect time to finally replace some of my wedding gifts – anyone use canisters still? I have a lovely ceramic set in dark green…